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09-28-2004, 11:25 AM

I am a home theater newbie looking to buy a home theater for <$1000. I have read reviews and seem to like the Fluance SX-HTB speakers ($260, or $375 with shipping and cables/banana plugs at www.fluance.com). I have also looked at H/K 630 receiver, and new Marantz 5500 receiver. I am also interested in decent stereo music experience. I would also like to get a DVD player that could play DVD+R/+RW as I have a DVD writer in that format. Here are my questions:

1. Are these receivers a match for these speakers or they are an overkill? Any suggestion on alternative would be appreciated.
2. Any suggesttions on the DVD player? I have looked at some Sony models that seem good with multiple DVD formats, but i have also read somewhere that all SOny models have an 'over-sampling' bug. I could use a DVD/VCR combo (like Sony SLV-D550P) as well, as my VCR has recently broken but I wouldn't like to sacrifice other features just to get a combo.
3. Any special consideration in selecting a receiver for later connection to my computer to play MP3 files from there?

N. Abstentia
09-28-2004, 12:12 PM
You say you seem to like Fluance speakers, when you listened to them what exactly did you like about? What kind of sound character did they have that you liked?

09-28-2004, 12:26 PM
I did not listen to them. What I meant is that I liked the reviews about them, especially the value they offer for the money.

09-28-2004, 12:38 PM
BIG MISTAKE buying speakers based just on reviews! Have you actually gone out and done some listening and comparing with speakers? That would be the first thing you need to do before you commit to anything. Fluance always gets a lot of inquiries because it offers an inexpensive five speaker package. But, I have yet to read anything from anyone on this board who's actually heard them.

Based on my listenings of other speakers, the Fluance package has got some things going that you should pay attention to. First off, that speaker package includes a pair of floorstanding speakers, and in my experience, almost all floorstanding speakers in that price range have severe problems with cabinet resonance, and diminished imaging ability. And that's WITHOUT the surround and center speaker price included. Also, do you have any idea of what their tonal characteristics are like? Depending on the type of music, movies, and general sound quality that you look for, the Fluance speakers might not work well at all.

My suggestion would be to do a lot of listening and figure out the type of speaker that you want, and don't be afraid to start with two speakers and add onto the system gradually. Home theater is not something you need to buy all at the same time. Better to start with a solid pair of speakers that you're happy with than go with a five-speaker package that has flaws galore.

As far as receivers go, get the one that meets your needs and supplies the power needs for the speakers that you decide to get. As you go up in price, the changes occur in the power supply sections and with the feature sets. A lot of higher quality speakers are more demanding on the power supply section, and would potentially need a better receiver. Closeout deals are probably the best way to go if you want to save some money and you're not interested in the absolute latest features. The Yamaha RX-V1400 and 2400 are well regarded midlevel models, and you should be able to negotiate them down to around the $500 price point.

The chroma upsampling error that you're referring to affects several DVD players since it's produced by the processor and several different manufacturers might use the same video processing chips. Hometheaterhifi.com posts their test results and they always check the CUE.

As far as MP3 playback goes, very few receivers decode the MP3 signal using the digital inputs. You might be better off looking for a DVD player that can handle MP3s and play them back through the analog inputs.

09-28-2004, 03:09 PM
Thank you for your reply Woochifer. I agree that it is better to atualy listen to speakers before buying. As far as Fluance is concerned I am surprised about your remark that no one has listened to them because I 'discovered' them right here on this site reviews section.

I listen to all kinds of music and watch a really wide selection of movies and I would like to get something that will perform satisfactory in this wide range rather than something more 'specialized'.

Thank you for the link to Hometheaterhifi.com. It is very informative!

I just saw that H/K AVR 630 apparently decodes the MP3 signal. I just need to figure out how to connect it to the computer in that case?

09-29-2004, 08:22 AM
Denis4, Wooch has already made some great suggestions and has come up with excellent points. Keeping in mind your budget of <$1000, I have the following suggestions and points to offer of my own. In the price range that you have, the Fluance speakers may sound pretty similar to the low price offerings at Good guys, CCity, etc. They all will suffer from the same characteristics Wooch was talking about.
If Fluance has a generous return policy then by all means go for it or, even trusting the reviews here may be OK to do so. I am going on a simple assumption that 500-600 for the speakers and the rest for a receiver. So in that price range, it is hard to seperate good from the bad as I believe they are mostly average and that is not such a bad thing if you are a casual listener for movies and HT. If you are a serious listener then even you know that budget is pretty restricting in itself.
Energy and Polk make some good satellite/sub combos and I have seen a good Polk combo with the sub at Fry's for $500. I have also seen the R50 POlk towers at Fry's for $198/pair. As far as receivers go, going with HK is never a bad bet. They are decently powered and the AVR-630 offers excellent Bass Management and I believe the Fluance package will sound good with the HK and I think HK will also do MP3s!
Fitting a decent DVD player in that price range may be a tough challenge but Costco may have some decent models under $100.
Good Luck!!